Aligning Objects in Sketchpad

I recently got a question from a question from a user about how to line up text objects. The question was both about lining up objects on a page, and about lining them up from one page to the next, so that when you switch pages things are in the same place on every page.
As is so often the case, there are several situations that require different solutions.

  1. How do I align a set of text objects on a given page? This is actually two cases: horizontal alignment and vertical alignment, and there are two techniques: magnetic text and Shift-Return.
  2. How do I put a text object into exactly the same position on every page? This one’s easy if it’s a new object: Copy and Paste. And this method works for geometric objects as well as text objects.
  3. But if it’s not a new object, how can I get an existing text object into the same place on every page? This is trickier, but the easiest solution still involves Copy and Paste.
  4. But what if it’s not a text object at all, but a geometric object? For me, this happens most often with coordinate systems; I create them at different times, and for different purposes, and only later do I realize that I don’t like the origin jumping from place to place as I switch pages. Again, there are two solutions to this problem, the first of which requires no setup but can be laborious to execute, and the second of which requires some setup and tear-down, but is a snap to execute.

Now I could try to explain all these techniques in words in a blog post, which would make for a boring read and possibly a bad experience as you try to translate the words back into practice in a sketch.

I could do a bit better by putting those words into a sketch so that the words would be right next to the objects that you’re trying to align with each other, either on the same page or different pages. But that’s not much better: it’s still hard to figure out how to translate the words into actions.

It makes a lot more sense not to try to write it all down at all, but instead to show you. So here’s the movie.

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